Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Commercial logging has started at Roaring Rock Park

Commercial logging machinery at Roaring Rock Park
Commercial logging machinery at Roaring Rock Park

In June 2021, Washington Township started commercial logging at Roaring Rock Park, waving off concerns expressed in the open public meeting on March 16th 2021.   Their decision to proceed runs counter to concerns raised by Warren County Board of Commissions regarding Forest Management Plans, and identified in their resolution adopted May 12th 2021 which opposes state legislation mandating such activity on New Jersey Public Lands.   Similar resolutions identifying the harmful effects of Forest Management has been passed by other local municipalities and counties, namely Hunterdon and Monmouth counties and several local governmental bodies.

If you are concerned about how commercial logging, performed under the context of a "Forest Management Plan",  will impact the park, you can do several things:

  1. if you are a resident, write your elected officials, and express your concerns;
  2. attend the next open public regular meeting, and express your views in person.   They occur the third Tuesdays of each month, and the public is afforded an opportunity to speak out on issues that are on, and not on, the agenda.  If public speaking is not your strong point, consider writing a letter and ask the Town Clerk to enter it into the public record;
  3. show your public support by hosting a lawn sign.

    Do you want to host a lawn sign in your front yard?

    Roaring Rock Park Lawn Sign June 2021

    To show your support publicly, SaveRoaringRockPark.org and its affiliate the New Jersey Highlands Coalition (NJHC), are offering these lawn signs to area residents.   Although not required, donations are greatly appreciated to offset the printing costs.

    Are you interested in hosting one?   If you are...

    THANK YOU !!!

    Here is what you can do to obtain one:
    1. Send an email to lawnsigns@saveroaringrockpark.org to make delivery arrangements.
    2. Please consider donating to help us be successful.  Click HERE to access our donation page. 


    Commercial logging machinery at Roaring Rock Park
    Commercial logging machinery at Roaring Rock Park

    Wednesday, June 2, 2021

    Washington Borough, Hunterdon County NJ oppose forest management bills

    Shabbacong Creek, Shabbacong Mountain Preserve, Washington Borough, Warren County NJ
    Shabbacong Creek
    downslope from Shabbacong Mountain Preserve

    Washington Borough, Warren County NJ

    On Tuesday June 1st, 2021 the local municipal council of Washington Borough in Warren County and Hunterdon County Board of Commissioners passed resolutions in opposition to three bills (A-4843/S-3549 A-4844/S-3550 A-4845/S-3548) being considered by the New Jersey state legislature.   These two local municipalities' actions followed that of Warren County on May 12th, 2021.

    If passed, these bills would have a devastating effect on New Jersey public lands, for parcels whose size is as small as twenty five (25) acres.   These bills will mandate municipalities to obtain and implement "Forest Management Plans" (FMPs), similar to the one being considered for Roaring Rock Park in Washington Township.  These "plans", despite their benign sounding titles, are primarily commercial logging plans whose primary intent is to transform New Jersey public lands into large scale tree farms, and away from what should be their purpose: to preserve, protect and promote their natural resources and to provide recreational opportunities to residents.  

    For Washington Borough the impact would be realized on the Shabbacong Mountain Preserve, an approximate 80 acre tract of land acquired with Green Acre Funding.   Washington Borough residents, in coordination with the local municipality, have designated this property for recreational use.

    The actions of Washington Borough and Hunterdon County acknowledge:

    1. These bills will essentially create new unfunded mandates, requiring compliance by local government to state law while not providing state funding to local municipalities to facilitate compliance, and remediation of the damage that will result from logging activities;
      1. Adding insult to injury, these bills will prohibit local governments, and their taxpayers, from influencing activities arising from FMPs (the same constituents who would be paying for the implementation!);
      2. These bills will primarily facilitate commercial logging activities, not the retention, protection and promotion of the natural resources (trees, water and wildlife) that reside on New Jersey's public lands (the same resources that make the lands valuable in the first place!)

      Washington Borough and Hunterdon County join a growing list of local municipalities and organizations in opposition to these bills:

      1. Washington Borough, Warren County
      2. Warren County
      3. Hunterdon County    
      4. Monmouth County
      5. Ringwood
      6. West Milford
      7. Raritan
      8. Buena Vista
      9. Clinton
      10. Hardyston
      11. Washington Township, Burlington County
      12. Harding Township 
      13. Rockleigh
      14. Tenafly 
      15. Parsippany – Troy Hills 
      16. South Brunswick 
      17. Lacey Township 
      18. Shamong Township
      19. Princeton
      20. New Jersey League of Municipalities

      We commend Washington Borough Council and the Hunterdon Board of County Commissioners for adopting a well written resolution and proclamation that acknowledge the ecological and recreational value of public lands and forests, and their positive effects on making their communities desirable places to live.   

      Below are images of the adopted Borough resolution and Hunterdon County proclamation. We urge local New Jersey municipalities to consider adopting similar resolutions, especially if they have open public space greater than twenty five (25) acres.

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